March 2021 Theater Openings Week 2: The Year of Magical Thinking. Theater Film Festival.

Below are the day-by-day listings of online theater that is opening between March 8 and March 14, which coincides with the anniversary of the shutdown of physical stages in New York. It’s amazing how much theater (redefined) is going on the exact day when Broadway was shuttered, March 12th. In a sign of how theater has evolved in the past year: There are two works that are both online and in person; and there is an entire festival of mostly short “theater films” (see Wednesday.) The new production of “The Year of Magical Thinking” seems terribly apt this week as well
That this is an emotional anniversary is something the Metropolitan Opera is implicitly acknowledging, with its streaming this week of operas full of “Verismo Passions.”

Monday, March 8

Lifeboat Drill and For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls
Food for Thought Productions
2 p.m.
A double bill that is being presented both on Zoom and on stage at Theatre 80 St. Marks. “Lifeboat Drill” is an obscure play by Tennessee Williams, a comedy about an older couple on a boat, starring Bob Dishy and Judy Graubart. “For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls” is a spoof of Williams’s Glass Menagerie by Christopher Durang

Clubbed Thumb
7 p.m.
Part of Clubbed Thumb Winterworks 2021, this musical podcast by Aya Aziz is inspired by author Arundhati Roy’s April, 2020 essay The Pandemic is a Portal, and features interviews with frontline workers, artists, and students.

Puccini’s Manon Lescaut
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m., available for 23 hours
 An alluring young country girl becomes the toast of Paris before suffering a swift fall and ignominious end. Starring Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, Pablo Elvira, and Renato Capecchi, conducted by James Levine. Production by Gian Carlo Menotti. From March 29, 1980.

Taxilandia, part 1
8 p.m
Ben Gassman explores the borough of Queens in this first of a series created and written by Oye Group’s Modesto Flako Jimenez to offer the flavors, sounds, sights and dynamic history of a neighborhood confronting social stigmas and the realities of gentrification. A co-production of New York Theatere Workshop, The Bushwick Star, and The Tank

The Assassins Reunion Show
Studio Tenn
8 p.m.
The original cast and creative team of the 1991 Off-Broadway debut of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Tony-winning musical will reunite via YouTube to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Tuesday, March 9

Daddy Long Legs
Smock Alley Theater via Stream Theatre
2:30 p.m. Available through March 14
Filmed live on stage in Dublin in 2018, based on the 1912 novel by Jean Webster that feels a little creepy now, the story focuses on Jerusha Abbott the “Oldest Orphan in the John Grier Home” and her mysterious benefactor who decides to send her to college to be educated as a writer. Required to write him a letter once a month, she is never to know the benefactor’s identity – so she invents one for him.

Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticanaand Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m., available for 23 hours
Equally scandalous when they premiered separately in the late 19th century, these two short operas, often presented as a double bill, show just how searing and soapy opera can be. In Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, a lay-about villager leaves the girl he’s impregnated for another man’s wife. And in Pagliacci, a tortured clown plots against his beautiful young wife, whom he suspects of carrying on with a younger man. Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Marcelo Álvarez, and George Gagnidze; Patricia Racette, Marcelo Álvarez, George Gagnidze, and Lucas Meachem, conducted by Fabio Luisi. Production by Sir David McVicar. From April 25, 2015.

Wednesday, March 10

NYC Indie Theater Film Festival
New Ohio Theater
March 10 – 14
All-Festival passes $35
Tickets to individual screenings $12
Some 40 mostly short “theater films” will be screened in ten programming blocks at this festival, whose name won’t cause anybody to blink in 2021; many theater artists have gone digital. Here’s the schedule and here is the guide.

All but two of these films/film blocks are available throughout the five days of the festival. The first exception: Tonight at 7, a free interview and Q&A will be live-streamed with playwright and screenwriter Qui Nguyen, co-writer of the new Disney film, Raya and the Last Dragon. (Second exception is on March 14th)

Ensemble Studio Theater
3 p.m.
This play by Bonnie Antosh  is the second of  eight this month about science in EST’s First Light Festival. In the animal kingdom and in our own, how does a queen pass the crown to another queen? LEMURIA is queer King Lear in a North Carolina lemur lab.

Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m., available for 23 hours
An 18th-century Parisian stage actress falls headlong for the impecunious Count of Saxony and is consequently poisoned by a bouquet of faded violets sent by her romantic rival, the scheming Princess of Bouillon. Starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, Piotr Beczała, and Ambrogio Maestri, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Production by Sir David McVicar. From January 12, 2019.

Thursday, March 11

Three Days of Rain
Manhattan Theatre Club
noon. Available through March 21
Part of MTC’s Curtain Call series (in which they present new online readings of their past play) Patricia Clarkson, John Slattery and Bradley Whitford, the original MTC cast of this play by Richard Greenberg, reunite to portray two siblings and a childhood friend who return home to settle the father’s estate, and discover a diary that brings us back in time to their parents’ lives in the 1960s. Free with an RSVP. (I hope it’s not impolite to point out that this was the play that, in a later production, marked the Broadway debuts of Bradley Cooper and Julia Roberts.)

Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m., available for 23 hours
The music of early–20th-century Italian composer Francesco Zandonai has largely been forgotten—with the exception of this expansive 1914 opera based on an episode from Dante’s Inferno. The melodramatic plot concerns an affair between the title character and the handsome brother of a cruel and disfigured warlord, to whom she is betrothed. Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Marcello Giordani, Robert Brubaker, and Mark Delavan, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Piero Faggioni. From March 16, 2013.

if there is a breakage, you will find chips
7:30 p.m. available through March 14
This two-hander by Makaela (Mak) Shealy-Sachot, “about the way we crash into one another’s lives” is part of the On Women Festival

Friday, March 12

Women’s Day on Broadway
1 p.m.
A free, virtual, close-captioned two hour event  focusing on gender equality in the theater industry and beyond.  The schedule includes a discussion by Broadway moms, a look at Broadway Sinfonietta (the all-female orchestra that supplied the music for Ratatouille The TikTok Musical) and Lynn Nottage’s announcement of the Lorraine Hansberry Initiative.

Treason The Musical
Cadogan Hall (UK)
2:30 p.m. ET
A new musical drama about the gunpowder plot, a failed assassination attempt in 1605 against England’s King James I by a group of provincial English Catholics.

The Car Man
New York City Center
6 p.m. Available through March 21
In this dance-theater production by choreographer Matthew Bourne, the familiar 19th-century Spanish cigarette factory of the opera “Carmen” becomes a greasy garage-diner in the American mid-west of the 1960s, drawing on a wealth of cinematic references.

Remember Broadway?
Broadway Sings
7 p.m.
Marking the one-year anniversary of the Broadway shutdown with a 90-minute, interactive Zoom party: games, Broadway trivia, and live performances by eight Broadway performers, including Stark Sands.

Untitled Mockumentary Project episodes 1 & 2
Ars Nova
7 p.m.
$10 for all 4 episodes
The first two of four ten-minute episodes that follow Collegiate Ki, Goddess G, Loud Aunty and Working Girl, four phenomenal Black Trans Womxn, as they come together to create the next hit show … which follows four phenomenal Black Trans Womxn coming together to create the next hit show

Giordano’s Fedora
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m., available for 23 hours
 A Russian princess vows to revenge the murder of her betrothed, only to fall desperately in love with the man that killed him. Starring Mirella Freni, Ainhoa Arteta, Plácido Domingo, Dwayne Croft, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, conducted by Roberto Abbado. Production by Beppe De Tomasi. From April 26, 1997.

A Love Letter to Liza Minnelli
Club Cumming on Stellar
8 p.m. live. Repeats Saturday and Sunday
Performances and reminiscences by a cavalcade of stars

Saturday, March 13

The Year of Magical Thinking
Keen Company
7 p.m.
Kathleen Chalfant stars in this one-woman show adapted from Joan Didion’s best-selling memoir of the same title, which explores the author’s poignant journey of grief following tragic personal events.

San Francisco Playhouse
Available through April 3
In this play by Erika Dickerson-Despenza, 13-year-old Davis, involuntarily displaced in Chicago two months post-Katrina, wrestles with the cultural landscape of a new city and school community, as well as the possibility of her parents divorcing, while secretly coping with the PTSD of an assault at the Superdome. 

Giordano’s Andrea Chénier
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m., available for 23 hours
Based on a true story, a high-minded poet falls victim to the French Revolution at the same time as he falls in love with the aristocratic (and also doomed) Maddalena de Coigny. Starring Maria Guleghina, Wendy White, Stephanie Blythe, Luciano Pavarotti, and Juan Pons, conducted by James Levine. Production by Nicolas Joël. From October 15, 1996.

Sunday, March 14

F**It Club’s Film Race
5 p.m.
Part of the NYC Indie Theater Film Festival, and now in its sixth, this is a challenge to created a short film over 72 hours, with a jury selecting the winners — or at least to watch all these new films.

Porchlight Music Theatre and Hershey Felder Presents
7 p.m.
Hershey Felder, who made a career of one-man stage shows about classical composers, and has launched a series of new more elaborate virtual shows from Florence, presents the story of a young musician in love with the world of opera, and in particular Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly. When, through a series of unusual circumstances, the young musician meets the musical master himself, secrets are revealed that send the young musician soaring. The cast includes baritone Nathan Gunn, soprano Gianna Corbisiero and tenor Charles Castronovo 

Puccini’s Tosca
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m., available for 23 hours
Taking place in Rome in 1800, the story concerns a fiery yet devoted diva, the painter/revolutionary that she loves, and a sadistic police chief determined to crush political rebellion and claim Tosca for himself. Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Vittorio Grigolo, Željko Lučić, and Patrick Carfizzi, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. Production by Sir David McVicar. From January 27, 2018.

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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